Mozilla has finally enabled the “Enhanced Tracking Protection” feature for all of its web browser users worldwide by default with the official launch of Firefox 69 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.
The company enabled the “Enhanced Tracking Protection” setting by default for its browser in June this year, but only for new users who downloaded and installed a fresh copy of Firefox.
Remaining users were left with options to either enable the feature manually or wait for the company to activate it for all users. Now, the wait is over.
With Firefox 69, Enhanced Tracking Protection will automatically be turned on by default for all users as part of the “Standard” setting in the Firefox browser, blocking known “third-party tracking cookies” and web-based cryptocurrency mining scripts.
Firefox 69 By Default Blocks Known Third-Party Tracking Cookies
Cookies are created by a web browser when a user loads a specific website, which helps the site to remember information about your visit, like your login information, preferred language, items in the shopping cart and other settings.
A third-party cookie is set by a website other than the one you’re currently on, allowing them to offer features like blogs having comment system that works with Facebook account.
Besides this, third-party cookies also allow advertisers and websites to track and monitor users online behavior and interests, commonly known as ‘tracking cookies’ using which they display relevant advertisements, content, and promotions on the websites a user visits.
However, with the evolution of online advertisements, the targeted advertising technologies have become too much invasive, thereby raising serious privacy concerns among Internet users.
To determine which third-party cookies are being used for tracking, the Firefox web browser relies on an open-source anti-tracking tool called Disconnect that lists known third-party trackers.
Firefox 69 will now by default block all known third-party tracking cookies that collect and retain data regarding users’ activity across multiple sites or applications—which are even sold and used by the companies for their personal gain, often without your knowledge or consent.
Firefox Blocks Web-Based Cryptocurrency Miners
Third-party cookies are not the only one that one should worry about.
In the past years, web-based cryptocurrency miners have increasingly been abused by not just hackers but also websites and mobile apps to monetize by levying the CPU power of your PCs to secretly mine cryptocurrencies—often without your knowledge or consent.
Now, Firefox 69 also blocks web-based cryptocurrency miners by default, preventing draining your CPU usage and battery power on your computers.
Though this feature has existed in previous beta versions of Firefox, it is now available as standard to all, as Mozilla said, “We introduced the option to block cryptominers in previous versions of Firefox Nightly and Beta and are including it in the ‘Standard Mode ‘of your Content Blocking preferences as of today.”
Another type of script that tracks you everywhere on the Internet and you may not want to run in your web browser are Fingerprinting scripts—websites that host scripts harvesting a snapshot of your computer’s configuration that can then be used to track you across the web.
However, the option to block fingerprinting scripts will not be offered by default in the Standard mode, though Mozilla said the company has plans to turn fingerprinting protections on by default in future releases.
For now, users can block fingerprinting scripts by enabling the “Strict” Content Blocking mode through Firefox’s Preferences menu, under “Privacy & Security.”
Adobe Flash Disabled by Default
Besides blocking third-party tracking cookies and cryptocurrency miners by default, Firefox 69 will disable Adobe Flash Player by default in the web browser and will now ask for your permission before turning on Flash on websites.
Mozilla has completely removed the “Always Activate” option for Adobe Flash plugin content from its browser, which suggests there is no longer a need to identify users on 32-bit Firefox version on 64-bit operating system version, reducing user agent fingerprinting and providing a greater level of privacy.
In addition, Firefox 69 also offers users the ability to block autoplay videos that automatically start playing without sound, numerous performance and UI improvements on Windows 10, and better battery life and download UI on macOS.
If you haven’t yet, download Firefox 69 for your desktop now from the official Firefox.com website. All existing Firefox users should be able to upgrade to the new version automatically.
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